BPD Sergeant

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2008

BPD sergeant honored by state law enforcement

By Billy Davis

Mississippi’s law enforcement officers association has honored a Batesville police sergeant for saving a wife from her husband’s violent assault.  

BPD Sgt. Gray Nickels, 32, was named Officer of Year at a June 12 ceremony in D’Iberville, site of the 2008 conference of the Miss. Law Enforcement Officers Association.

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BPD Police Chief Tony Jones nominated Nickels following an April 9 incident in which police say the officer kicked in a bedroom door and stopped the husband’s attack on his wife.  

Police arrested Calvin Ferrell and have charged him with aggravated domestic violence, a felony. Ferrell is still in jail until his case goes before a grand jury.

The woman’s name has not been released.

Responding to a 9-1-1 call, Nickels was the first officer on the scene at a mobile home located at 416 Tubbs Road. Jones said afterward that a child living in the home ran to a neighbor’s home to report the attack.

A 12-year-boy was also allegedly injured by Ferrell and required a brief stay at the University Medical Center in Jackson. Police said at the time that the boy was injured trying to protect his mother.

Nickels’ name was one of four submitted to the officers association this year, said Ken Winters, executive secretary/treasurer of the organization.

“The award isn’t given out strictly for heroism,” Winters said. “An officer who is dedicated to serving the community – that’s the main criteria.”

Nickels was hired as a Batesville police officer in 2003. He left for about a year to serve as a sheriff’s deputy in Tate County before returning to the police department in 2005.

Jones and other officers have been cautious about discussing the pending court case against Ferrell, but Jones and others have also contended that Nickels saved a life.

Police did not discuss the woman’s injuries, but police said a knife was recovered from the bedroom.

“It’s not ‘quite possibly’ that he saved a life. He did save a life,” said Jones.

Nickels is married to the former Whitney Cantrell of Batesville. They have one daughter, Meredith Gray Nickels.